Orapex astounds in nation’s capital

Orapex chair Michael Powell (shown above) will return as show chair for the third consecutive year in 2018.

“Great” is not a term used lightly in philatelic circles, but it was something heard early and often at the recent Orapex. The 56th edition of Orapex – the Ottawa RA Centre Philatelic Exhibition – returned to Ottawa on May 6-7, and by all accounts it was a “great” weekend (aside from the sole international dealer, Bill Barrell, of London, England, who chose to employ the word “brilliant” instead). “Things have been great,” said Michael Powell, Orapex chairman, on the morning of the second day. “We’ve been thrilled. We had great crowds yesterday. You could hardly walk down there for the first couple hours, and it stayed busy throughout the day.” Powell, who will be returning as Orapex chairman for the third consecutive year in 2018, said the dealer response was likewise positive. “I think most of the dealers were pretty happy with the business that has been going on, and there was just a marvellous field of exhibits this year, too.” (See page 10 for a review of this year’s exhibition, including the full palmares.) One of the six judges, John Wilson, said “there’s a great fraternity” at Orapex. Continue reading →

Show preview: 89th RPSC Convention coming to Boucherville later this month

Margaret Schulzke, executive assistant of The RPSC National Office, and George Pepall at last year’s Royal Convention in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.

The 89th Convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is right around the corner. Organized by l’Association des numismates et des philatélistes de Boucherville (ANPB) and the Fédération québécoise de philatélie (FQP), the convention will be held May 25-28 at Hôtel Mortagne on 1228 Nobel St. in Boucherville, Que. Admission and parking are free. Nearly 30 of Canada’s top philatelic dealers will preside over more than 45 tables of material on the bourse, which is being held in the hotel’s Boucherville Room. Canadian Stamp News will be selling magazines as well as philatelic supplies at table six. The bourse will open to the public at 10 a.m. each day before closing at 5 p.m. on May 26, 27, and 4 p.m. on May 28. RPSC President George Pepall said this year marks three anniversaries that are relevant to the 2017 Royal Convention: the 350th anniversary of the founding of Boucherville, which is just east of Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River; the 300th anniversary of the death of Pierre Boucher (1622-1717), who was the settler of Boucherville and governor of New France from 1654-57 and 1662-67; and the 50th anniversary of the ANPB. “It has drawing power because of the strength of the clubs in Quebec. The FQP is very strong,” said Pepall, who added the FQP is the only provincial philatelic organization in Canada. “They have provincial government support and an office at the Stade Olympique that allows them to administer the hobby across Quebec. They’re very strong on youth philately, too.” Continue reading →

Building relationship with local postal clerks ‘key’ to finding errors

George Kaltenecker, owner of Covernutz, displays a misperforated Pansies souvenir sheet he recently purchased from his local postal clerk. Kaltenecker said the clerk sold three misperforated sheets to other collectors before selling one to him.

One dealer is especially excited for spring’s arrival thanks to a recent pickup from his local postal clerk. George Kaltenecker, owner of the Toronto-based Covernutz, recently purchased one of Canada Post’s 2015 Pansies souvenir sheets from a postal clerk in the Greater Toronto Area. Each sheet features the dramatic misperforation that was originally discovered upon its release two years ago. “She has helped me out by finding me two major misperf items over the course of the last two years, and for that, she has now been added to my annual Christmas gift card list,” said Kaltenecker, who specializes in postal history and deltiology. “She is always looking for unique items for me, and hopefully she will come up with more great finds.” As detailed in an April 2015 issue of CSN (Vol. 39, No. 25), Quebec stamp dealer Michelle Levesque, co-owner of Zimo Stamp Co., originally discovered the misperforation on four souvenir sheets. One of these sheets has since been sold by Zimo to a collector in Hong Kong for $1,000 US. These freaky misperforations, also known as misperfs, lay between the trinity of philatelic peculiarities known as errors, freaks and oddities (EFOs). And when it comes to misperfs, the amount of interest shown by collectors – and their potential value on the market, as with most EFOs – is dependent on the severity of the error. Continue reading →

‘Inner workings’ of Canada Post’s Stamp Advisory Committee explained

Canada Post Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips led one of three educational seminars at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show on March 25-26.

Working about 24 months in advance from concept to completion, Canada Post’s Stamp Advisory Committee has the sometimes-arduous task of reviewing and recommending ideas for Canada’s stamp program. While it can be a daunting responsibility, it’s one that’s also cherished by those who are lucky enough to participate in it. “We’re very honoured to be able to have that role at Canada Post, and we take that role very seriously,” said Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips, who added he often corrects people who refer to Canada’s stamps as “Canada Post stamps.” “Those are Canadian stamps. Those are the stamps we’re issuing for Canada, and we cherish that role and try to do the best we can to meet all the different needs for all the different communities who are interested in postage.” While explaining Canada Post’s stamp-issuing policies and guiding principles during an hour-long educational seminar at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show on March 25, Phillips also shined a light on what he calls the “inner workings” of the Stamp Advisory Committee. Continue reading →

Long-time dealer Issie Baum ready to sell topical business

Montreal’s Isidore ‘Issie’ Baum estimates he has upwards of 600 square feet of stamps scattered throughout his home, where he runs two businesses: Judaica Sales, and Wonderful World of Stamps, the latter of which is currently up for sale.

Long-time philatelic dealer Isidore “Issie” Baum has announced his intention to sell his topical business, Wonderful World of Stamps, which he started more than 30 years ago. “If somebody walked in and wanted to buy my business, I’d sell it tomorrow,” said Baum, adding “2016 ended with a bang.” Although he feels like he’s in good health, Baum was diagnosed with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer late last year, around the same time his wife, Zila, suffered a minor heart attack; however, the 76-year-old philatelic aficionado said his business has outgrown his desires. “I have to cut back for a number of reasons, not the least of which I have so much stuff here that if I were to drop dead tomorrow my wife would be inundated,” he said. “It’s getting to be too much, and I can’t keep up with all of it.” Despite his current hang-up, Baum – always jovial – said “everything is fine.” “I feel great, and I’ve been told there would probably not be any effects. I feel good, and I’m out and about working every day.” Baum owns two businesses, Judaica Sales, which boasts the largest stock of Judaica material in the world, and the aforementioned Wonderful World of Stamps, which focuses on worldwide topical material. “It’s time to let somebody else at it,” he said, of his topical business, adding he’s not selling solely for health reasons. “I don’t anticipate anything happening – I will finish radiation and keep well – but it’s my back and my knee. I can’t travel unless I can ensure someone can help load.” Continue reading →

Garcelon sale nets ‘strong’ bids

Lot 465 featured a well-centered block of eight 1897 eight-cent orange (Unitrade #72) on vertical wove paper. With original gum and never hinged, it sold for $4,000, compared to a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-plus.

The Garcelon sale brings to a close a stamp story that started in 1932 when Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he liked buying and selling stamps more than collecting them, opened up the Garcelon Stamp Company, in St. Stephen, N.B. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon’s business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell US stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

Topical opportunities at every philatelic corner

The 2007 ‘Canadian Recording Artists’ series featured Canadian music legends Gordon Lightfoot (Scott #2221a), Joni Mitchell (SC #2221b), Anne Murray (SC #2221c) and Paul Anka (SC #2221d).

There’s arguably never been a better time to be a topical exhibitor. As noted by CSN Consulting Editor Ian Robertson in his recent story on the Royal Mail’s unveiling of a 10-stamp issue featuring David Bowie, these kinds of stamps are popular around the world. “Commemoratives featuring entertainers are popular and several small countries have issued stamps featuring Bowie,” wrote Robertson, who’s also vice-president of the West Toronto Stamp Club. The 10-stamp set was unveiled Jan. 25, nearly a year after Bowie died following an 18-month battle with cancer. Although Royal Mail has previously honoured bands and groups – namely the Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015 – this is the first time the British postal service has dedicated an entire issue to an individual musician or cultural figure. Continue reading →

Black History Month, Canadian Opera, Daisies coming next from Canada Post

A Permanent-rate stamp commemorating Mathieu Da Costa was issued recently by Canada Post as part of its Black History Month issue. This official first-day cover was cancelled in Tadoussac, Que.

Canada Post recently issued its annual Black History Month stamp, and this year’s commemoration focuses on a historical figure who continues to fascinate and confound scholars. Little is known about Mathieu Da Costa, but from the few records that remain, historians conclude he was a free man who earned a living as an interpreter for Europeans, who were trading with Indigenous people in the New World. Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, his connection to Canada came in 1608 – the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec – when Da Costa signed a contract to work for Pierre Dugua de Mons, a French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia. “While the full story of Mathieu Da Costa may never be known, interest in his life and in his unique connection with our country is a reminder of the values of respect, acceptance and diversity that Canadians cherish,” said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. With no portrait of Da Costa available, designer Andrew Perro and illustrator Ron Dollekamp worked closely with Canadian historical illustrator and storyboard artist Francis Back to ensure the period clothing and sailing ship reflect De Costa’s time and socio-economic milieu. As with all stamps issued in 2017, the Black History stamp will contain references to Canada’s sesquicentennial that are only visible with a black light. Continue reading →

Eastern Auctions features Garcelon Stamp Company

Lot 357 features a group of 34 Toronto geometric fancy cancelled covers and six postcards, all from 1870 to 1874. It has an estimate of $1,000.

The final chapter in a Canadian stamp story will come to a close Feb. 25, when Eastern Auctions sells the final inventory of the Garcelon Stamp Company of St. Stephen, N.B. The business, familiar to most old-time collectors, was formed in 1932 by Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he enjoyed buying and selling stamps more than collecting them. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon's business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell U.S. stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

New definitives seemed eerily familiar

The 2016 Canadian UNESCO heritage sites consisted of five stamps, including Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta.

In a case of déjà-stamp – you thought you’d seen them before – the UNESCO set of five P-denominated 85-cent definitives released on Jan. 11 repeat the designs of the five larger-format 2014 commemoratives that feature photos of World Heritage Sites in Canada. They are: Canyon cliffs at Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump, Alta.; the harbour at Lunenburg, N.S. and the Landscape of Grand Pré, N.S., on $1.20 stamps (Scott #2739a-41, 2739b-40 and 2739c-42); plus an evergreen forest at SGang Gwaay, B.C.; and the Rideau Canal beside Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on $2.50 stamps (SC #2739d-43, 2739e-44). The same photographs provided by Ward Isnor, François Gaudet, the Alberta government, Brodie Guy, and Tourism Ottawa were again used by Lime Design Inc. The Victoria, B.C. firm’s staff placed small red and white Maple Leaf flags in the bottom-left corners of the 2016 definitives, beside “CANADA” in red and white lettering, with the “P” symbol in black lettering within small white maple leaves to the right. Continue reading →

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